Armenian-born Serge Gandzumian is one of Lithuania’s top fashion designers. He came to Lithuania in the late 80s in a bid to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a designer. He studied Costume Design at the Lithuanian Academy of Arts just as the USSR – to which Armenia and Lithuania both belonged – was unravelling.
Now a 45-year-old father of three, he has 30 collections under his belt and, since 2006, has been the head of Lithuania’s National Fashion Design Association.
His latest collection was showcased in the intimate courtyard of the Strazdelio Namai luxury flat development in Vilnius’s Old Town. Gandzumian eschewed runway models for the show, going instead with long time friends, many of whom come from ranks of Lithuania’s arts and entertainment community.
Who are your favourite contemporary designers?
Overall, I admire the Japanese for their subtlety and culture – Yohi Yamamoto for instance. But I also like Christian Lacroix and John Galliano. I don’t much like Gaultier – he’s too much of a cad.
Best designer of all time?
Wool and silk.
Right now, it’s orange. It changes depending on my mood and what’s going on inside me.
How do you host guests visiting Vilnius?
I show them my studio. And of course I show them the Baroque churches and the streets of Old Town. I always want them to experience Vilnius’s unique spirit.
How do you let off steam?
Yes, I do yoga every morning. I go for a run every so often.
Favourite film of all time?
The Colour of Pomegranates by Parajanov.
Whom do you love most?
My family, my parents and kids.
If you had a time machine...
I’d go back 6000-10000 years to the era of the Bhagavat Gita and that civilisation.
If you had a flying carpet...
I’d probably travel around Armenia. I haven’t been there in 10 years.
What’s the main difference between Lithuania and Armenia?
There are many – culture, mentality and especially natural surroundings. The only thing the two countries have in common is that they’re both Christian, although Armenians belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church which is the world’s oldest national church, going back to the early fourth century.
Your fantasy dinner party?
I’d invite my entire extended family, my friends from around the world, childhood friends, my schoolmates and friends from my undergraduate years in Armenia.
Tell us a secret...
I’ll show you one when you take my picture.